CALIFORNIA’S 3rd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT—Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) held a virtual ceremony honoring 10 students from the 3rd Congressional District whom he nominated and have been accepted into one of the nation’s military service academies.
The young men and women competing for nominations this year include an outstanding group of individuals. While all applicants demonstrated the dedication, courage, and aptitude necessary to excel at an academy, only a select few of the most qualified individuals can receive a nomination each year. Nominations are based on the applicant’s academic strength, extracurricular activities, and in-person interviews with Congressman Garamendi’s Academies Nomination Committee. Members of the Committee include service academy alumnus and current members of the military.
“Each year I have the privilege of nominating a select group of young men and women to our nation’s service academies,” said Garamendi. “America’s military service academies have a longstanding tradition of excellence in education, service, and integrity, and I am proud to have such remarkable nominees represent the 3rd Congressional District. After meeting many of these impressive young men and women, I’m confident that America’s military will be in good hands when today’s cadets become tomorrow’s top military leaders. I salute our 2021 nominees and thank them for their commitment to our country,” Garamendi concluded.
Below are the names of the men and women nominated by Congressman Garamendi:
West Point Appointees
- Julia Palchak—Davis
- Julia is from Davis and graduated from St. Francis High School in 2018. Since then, she has been continuing her studies at Sacramento City College and now works as a Dental Assistant in Winters. In both high school and college, she competed on the school swim teams and made the honor roll. She has also been involved extensively with her church and many community service organizations. Having seen her sister and cousins attend U.S. Service Academies, Julia has been determined to earn her place among those cadets and looks forward to the opportunities and challenges that West Point will provide.
- Phoenix Sheppard—Fairfield
- Phoenix is from Fairfield and graduated from Angelo Rodriguez High School in 2020. Last year she applied for an appointment to West Point and was offered a place at the United States Military Academy Prep School. This past, Phoenix has worked hard to further develop both her academics and athletics while learning important leadership and teambuilding skills. In high school, she competed on her school’s Diving and Cheerleading teams and is now on the Rugby team at Prep School. She will go on to study Mechanical Engineering at West Point and is excited to serve her country.
- Amara Higgins—Davis
- Amara is from Davis and just graduated from Davis Senior High School. Amara has played Field Hockey and Lacrosse throughout her high school career and became a team captain in her Junior year. She also competed on the U.S. Lacrosse Northern California National Team and volunteered coaching youth lacrosse for three years. She will now go on to play Division I Women’s Lacrosse at West Point. While her Lacrosse skills may have landed her on any Division I team, Amara chose West Point because she believes in the “American Dream” and looks forward to serving the country that gave her and her family so much.
Naval Academy Appointee
- Carson Schene—Woodland
- Carson is from Woodland and just graduated from Dixon High School. Carson was High School Senior Class President and Captain of the Varsity Wrestling Team. He was also on the honor roll every year in high school, earned a black belt in karate, and volunteered extensively in his community. It has been Carson’s goal for many years to attend the Naval Academy and hopes to go on to serve his country as a Navy SEAL.
Air Force Academy Appointees
- Payne Barksdale—Davis
- Payne is from Davis and graduated from Davis Senior High School in 2020. Last year, he was offered a place at the Air Force Academy Prep School where he has worked to better himself and strengthened his commitment to pursuing a career as an Air Force pilot. In high school, Payne was Captain of his football team for two years and voted Team MVP four years in a row. He is an accomplished athlete who, as well as playing football, participated in varsity baseball and track and field. Payne also volunteered throughout his community and was recognized for his academic achievements. He is excited to continue on his path to serve his country in the United States Air Force.
- Jason Booker—Fairfield
- Jason is from Fairfield and just graduated from Angelo Rodriguez High School. He played Varsity Baseball four years in a row and was a 2020 California Boys State Delegate. He was a 2021 National Merit Scholarship Candidate and recognized Scholar-Athlete for four years. Growing up in an Air Force family with a father, brother, and uncle who all attended the Air Force Academy, Jason never wavered from his goal of earning an appointment to the Air Force Academy and becoming a pilot.
- Samuel Ellenson—Browns Valley
- Samuel is from Browns Valley and just graduated from Marysville High School. He is an accomplished athlete who participated in Varsity Baseball, Wrestling, Swimming, and Trap Shooting. He was also class president both Junior and Senior year. He is very active in his church and enjoys volunteering in his community. He looks forward to following in his father’s footsteps to serve in the Air Force and hopes to become a pilot.
- Andrew Fedora—Sutter
- Andrew is from Sutter and just graduated from Sutter Union High School. In High School, Andrew competed on the Varsity Rifle Team, was voted MVP, and qualified for the Junior Olympics two years in a row. He also earned the rank of Eagle Scout and volunteers within his community. Andrew looks forward to serving his county in the United States Air Force.
- Angad Takhar—Fairfield
- Angad is from Fairfield and graduated from Angelo Rodriguez High School in 2020. Last year he received a Falcon Foundation Scholarship to attend an Air Force Academy Preparatory program at the New Mexico Military Institute. In High School, he played four years of Varsity Baseball and received multiple awards for his performance. He also volunteered for countless community organizations and events. He looks forward to continuing his path to serve in the United States Air Force.
Naval Academy Prep School
- Nolan Savala—Woodland
- Nolan is from Woodland and just graduated from Pioneer High School. Nolan was High School Senior Vice-President, co-founder of his school’s Debate Club, and Captain of the Varsity Tennis team. He was chosen to represent his school at the 2020 California Boys State Conference, made the honor roll six times, and received the American Legion Award recognizing his courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship, and service. He has accepted a spot at the Naval Academy Prep School where he will work diligently towards his goal of becoming a Naval Aviator.
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